Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - December 31, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
The Lethbrtdge Herald LETHBHIDGE, ALBERTA, TUESDAY, DECEMBER 31, 1974 15 Cents Out with the old, in with the new Provincial tax changes may keep city taxes at '74 level By ANDY OGLE Herald Staff Writer Changes in provincial property tax legislation that could keep 1975 city taxes at their 1974 level may be in the offing this spring. Mayor Andy Anderson said in an interview Monday some "interesting communica- tions" with the provincial government recently raises this possibility. He would not elaborate. Fund closes over top The Cup of Milk Fund has received surpassing the goal by a hefty margin as generous Southern Albertans dug deep in their purses to help the hungry children of Bangladesh. Donations continued to pour in the Lethbridge Herald's Cup of Milk Monday. We thank everyone, in farms, towns, Hutterite colonies and cities throughout Southern Alberta and southeastern B.C. The Unitarian Service Committee will now be able to honor its pledge for five carloads of powdered milk to the hungry people in Bangladesh. The fund is now closed. Please accept 'our warmest wishes for a Happy New Year. List of contributors on Page Z. Bill Isbister, deputy minister of municipal affairs, said in a telephone interview from Edmonton that the government has been looking at the whole question of property taxation and municipal revenue for some time. "We're well aware of the escalating costs and what they've been doing to mill he said. Mr. Isbister said there have been no decisions yet, but some could be made quite soon. There may be an announcement from Municipal Affairs Minister Dave Russell after he returns from his holidays in mid- January, he said. Mayor Anderson, meanwhile, said the city will likely have an operating budget surplus about equal to last year's surplus. Some of that will go to relief of taxation, the mayor said. Last year's surplus was split into three nearly equal parts, for tax relief. West Lethbridge development, and relocation of downtown utility lines around the Lethbridge Centre project. City council voted during its capital budget discussions held earlier this month to consider allocating surplus funds for the Neighborhood Improvement Program if it is approved for Lethbridge, and for a payment on industrial land purchased this year. Some council members, notably Aid. Vaughan Hembroff, advocates returning most of the year- end surplus to the taxpayers since that's where much of the city's revenue is derived. Others, including Mayor Anderson, argue that using surplus funds to pay for expansion projects, like the industrial park, also helps the taxpayer. Their logic is that if such projects are paid for through the surplus, the city doesn't have to borrow money to meet the cost and they therefore don't add to the city tax burden. Much of this year's budget surplus, City Manager Allister Findlay told council, is coming from greater than estimated returns on city investments. Inside 'I've come to complain about the noise.' 28 Pages Classified........22-25 Comics............18 ....15-17 Markets...........19 Theatres...........7 TV.................6 Weather............3 LOW TONIGHT 25; HIGH WED. 40; SUNNY, WINDY. Alberta finances remarkably healthy RICK ERVIN photo Xj U.S. gold sales bring price drop LONDON (AP) The price of gold fell on Europe's major bullion markets today as deal- ers awaited returns from the first legal gold dealings in the United States in 41 years. In New York, the initial public response was-quiet. But it was brisk at commodities exchanges dealing in contracts for future delivery of gold. January 1975 contracts opened at an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange and at at the Commodity Ex- change. In London, the price was fix- ed for afternoon trading at an ounce, down from at the morning fixing and down almost from Mon- day afternoon's fixing of In Zurich, Europe's other major bullion market, the year-end closing gold price was an ounce, a flat below the Monday record level. It opened at this morning. Zurich dealers said the mar- ket seemed to have been over- bought in the past few days. London dealers said the drop was due more to profit taking than to any direct reac- tion to the legalization of gold trading by U.S. citizens. They said the market would remain cautious until the trend of U.S. trading developed later in the day. Along with the fall in gold, the U.S. dollar recovered from a record low. It opened in Zurich at 2.54 Swiss francs, 0.035 above the bottom price Monday, weakened fractional- ly during the morning and then moved back-to 2.54 before noon. No Herald on New Year's The Herald will not publish Wednesday, New Year's Day. Classified advertisements received by 3 p.m. Thursday will appear Friday, Jan. 3. British to free prisoners if IRA ceasefire continues LONDON (Reuter) The British government offered early release for more than 100 prisoners in Northern Ireland today and promised to end detention without trial if the present guerrilla truce continues. The offer was made by Mer- lyn Rees, secretary of state for Northern Ireland, two days before the scheduled end of a Christmas truce calleu by the Irish Republican Army Rees refused an immediate mass release of the 561 per- sons now held without trial. He said only 20 detainees could be freed at the moment. But he offered early freedom for about 100 prisoners who were tried and convicted of politically- motivated offences. The offer would affect persons due for release by the end of next March. t In addition, 50 untried de- tainees would be granted a three-day parole over the New Year. The truce was called on Dec. 22 by the IRA's Provisional faction that does most of the fighting to push British troops out of Northern Ireland. It kept the guns silent in Northern Ireland until Mon- day night when a 17-year-old student was shot dead in a predominantly Protestant suburb of Belfast. Provisional leaders said they might extend the truce if the government moved some way to meeting their long- standing demands. These include withdrawal of British troops. EDMONTON (CP) An unexpected new measure of Alberta's fiscal health has sur- faced in the provincial government's six-month financial statement. In addition to the provincial auditor's report that year-end public accounts showed a surplus, the six-month statement showed that as of Sept. 30, the Alberta government had million to invest. Indicating how fast the amount was ac- largely to higher royalty rates on higher oil cial Treasurer Gordon Miniely and Provincial Auditor D. W. Rogers calculated that the in- vestment funds had reach- ed million as of last week. Mr. Miniely said the bulk of the money was invested in the short-term money market in Canada, flowing through banks and investment houses to follow market demand. The province has been getting an interest rate of up to 10.8 per cent for the use of its excess cash. Mr. Miniely noted the prov- ince has used its availability of cash as a lever to develop a home-grown money market for the province, telling banks and investment houses that if they want to use Alberta funds they will have to make their bids in Alberta. "It has resulted in three or four full-time market desks being set up in Alberta and two or three more are on the verge of said the treasurer. In addition to the million. Alberta's newly- formed consolidated cash investment fund also includes about million held by agencies such as the pension fund of the Workers' Com- pensation Board. All this money is lumped to- gether for the purposes of bookkeeping, and is the source of the million Alberta used to purchase Pacific Western Airlines. It will also be the source of more than million in low-cost loans to municipalities. Because of problems facing the Syncrude Canada Ltd. oil sands development in north- eastern Alberta, it's uncertain how much of the investment fund will go to the Alberta Energy Co. WAIT A SECOND NEW YORK (AP) Wait a second. That is what New Year 1975 must do to permit the world's clocks to stay in step with planet earth. In Greenwich, England, where time zones begin, clocks will be stopped for one second at midnight tonight, delaying the arrival of 1975. The "leap second" will be inserted in the United States at 7 p.m. EST. The National Bureau of Standards said "leap sec- onds" were devised in 1972 when it became apparent that the atomic clock, our basic time keeper, was more efficient and regular than the planet earth, which has been slowing down at an irregular rate. Two "leap seconds'" were added to the world's clocks in 1972, another in 1973.- the bureau said. The New Year's Eve second will be the fourth. Provinces await freight ruling By KEN POLE OTTAWA (CP) The Can- dian transport commission is expected to announce today its decision on a move by eight provinces to block proposed railway freight increases averaging more than 25 per cent. The commission's railway transport committee hearing was to resume today after 12 hours of testimony and ques- tionining Monday in a last- minute effort by opponents to block the increases being sought by CP Rail and Cana- dian National. A federally-imposed freeze on freight rates, in effect since January. 1973, expires at midnight tonight and the three Prairie provinces, with the support of the Atlantic provinces and Ontario, want the freeze extended. At the start of the hearing Monday, the provinces asked for an indefinite freeze, but proposed later that it be 60 days. The appelants feel the 60 ex- tra days would give interested parties more time to negotiate with the railways. But this was. one of the main ideas behind the earlier freeze. The increase would affect about 22 per cent of a freight traffic, including an average rate increase of 25 per cent on products such as lumber and building materials, fruit and vegetables, domestic grain, coal and petroleum products. The rates would increase about 30 per cent on livestock and meat. Since the freeze has been in effect, Ottawa has paid more than million in subsidies to the railways to make up for lost revenues. Only about million is committed by the province on a "policy said Mr. Minieley. The recently-announced program to encourage oil exploration will have little effect on the investment money because at least million involves rolling back to the industry money the government never received, said Mr. Miniely. High school sniper kills 3, hurts 11 Seen and heard About town Lawrence Thompson, Skiff, finally getting a perfect 29 hand after 50 years of playing cribbage, and skunking son Richard in the process Sherry Clark claiming the only reason he gets a headache the morning after a party is from the tight halo. OLEAN, N.Y. (AP) An honor student who was one of the best marksmen on his high school rifle team was arraign- ed on three counts of second- degree murder today in the sniper-slayings of three per- sons at Olean high school. Anthony Barbaro, 17. said nothing during the brief court appearance as a lawyer entered a not guilty plea for him. A hearing on the charges was scheduled for Friday. Barbaro, a senior at Olean high, was accused of- killing the three in a shooting spree from a room on the third floor of the high school Monday. Eleven other persons were taken to hospitals with wounds or cuts from flying glass. Police captured Barbaro after storming the room with tear gas. They found him on the floor, wearing an ap- parently defective gas mask. They said he was not injured, but was overcome by tear gas. After the shooting began Monday, police cordoned off the neighborhood. They also brought in a national guard tank to shield rescuers trying to reach wounded while the sniper was still holed up in the school. Classes were in recess for the holidays, but several pupils and school employees were in the building at the time. Shot to death were Mrs. Carmen Wright. 25. who was riding by the school in a car; Neal Pilon, 58. a gas company meter reader who was gunned down on the street; and school custodian Earl Metcalf, 62, who was shot inside the school.